Jean-Francois Thiriart, a native of Brussels, was the great theorist & strategist of the European Revolution. Though he never met Francis Parker Yockey, he shared many of the same ideas. Like Yockey, he considered the American occupation of Europe to be more dangerous than the threat of the Soviet Union, if only because U.S. domination was less heavy-handed and more difficult to recognize. Both men were obsessed with the idea of a united Europe as a third force capable of challenging the hegemony of the Cold War superpowers.
Before World War II, Thiriart was active in a socialist youth group. Then in 1939, on the eve of the war, he joined a group influenced by a layer of socialist thought in Belgium which saw a German victory as the way to achieve socialism on the European continent. Britain was conceived as an old plutocratic power.
During the war, Thiriart trained with one of Otto Skorzeny’s special commando units. This earned him a three year prison term after the war for collaboration. Upon release from prison, he kept a low political profile. He married, had children, loved cats, and developed a profitable optometry business. He built a chain of optometry stores across Europe. He would use the cover of business to frequently visit Skorzeny in Spain. But, again, he kept a low profile.
We pick up the story from Martin Lee in his anti-fascist work, THE BEAST REAWAKENS:
Thiriart jumped back into politics when Belgium granted independence to the Congo in the early 1960s. This decision generated considerable anger among Belgian settlers, who felt betrayed by their own government.
Going beyond Lee’s one-sided account, Thiriart started a movement to try the force the Belgian government to reclaim its former colony. He also formed a support group for the French OAS which was fighting both DeGaulle and the Algerian rebels. Both movements failed.
Thiriart then realized the problems required a European-wide solution. He created the organization Jeune Europe (Young Europe) on a continental bases. Branches were formed in 13 countries with the largest ones in Belgium, France, Italy and Spain.
He issued the “Manifesto to the European Nation” which began with the slogan “Neither Washington Nor Moscow.” It called for a united European homeland with its own nuclear arsenal. Thiriart vowed to replace chattering and corrupt parliamentarism with a dynamic governing elite that would sanction free enterprise only if it was civic, disciplined and sanctioned by the nation. Promising to reverse the betrayal of Yalta, he denounced the Common Market of the financiers.
In 1964, Thiriart published EUROPE–AN EMPIRE OF 400 MILLION MEN.
He had some sharp barbs in it. FDR was denounced as a senile and perverted meglomaniac. Windbag democracy was depicted as a front for plutocrats. Thiriart, like Yockey, referred to Europe’s monopoly of creative power and it’s unique mission to bring morality to the rest of the world.
Thiriart wrote: “On the train of history, Europe represents the energy that moves the locomotive and the black races represent the carriages.” He would denounce those who intermarry as “the trash of both nations, black and white.”
Thiriart rejected charges that he was a fascist. He knew, that to break out of political isolation, he had to discard the nostalgic trappings of the pre-WWII era and adapt to the political & social realities of the 1960s. He dismissed National Socialism as obsolete and derided those who pranced around with swastikas on their arms as past-dwellers and ridiculous caricatures.
Thiriart, instead, staked out a position beyond the ordinary political spectrum:
“We consider ourselves to be at the forefront of the Center, the avant-garde center. . . The linear division of the political world, passing from extreme right to extreme left is totally outdated.”
We will continue our narrative in a future blog.